The Merkel-Sarkozy plan (that of a new Eurozone government with taxation powers) which they’ll be cooking up today at lunch-time is bound to fail for one simple reason. Indeed, it was for the same reason that it wasn’t dared to be instituted right at the beginning of the Euro-banknote era in 1999. This is that humans, being an intensely social species, will instinctively revert to their nearest convenient denominator when stressed. We clump together even more tightly. This applies whether we are talking of cultures, or religions, or languages, or tribes, or social classes, or professions, or work groups, or neighbourhoods, or ultimately, families.
The idea that Germans, Italians, French, Greeks, Portuguese, Spaniards, Irish, Flemish, Luxembourgians, and eight more cultural denominations (at their largest linguistic dimension, never mind smaller ones) will cheerfully submit to a centralized budgetary authority is crazy in the extreme. Even if Merkel and Sarkozy are so desperate to agree today on some sort of formula, and even if the Eurozone leaders agree to it on Friday, then the only epithet we can apply is the old one: “Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad”.
The only eminent politician who has put his finger on the problem so far is the Prime Minister of the smallest country of the Eurozone, namely Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxemburg. He recently said: “We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to be re-elected once we’ve done it.”
Precisely. Never mind the social eruptions, revolutions or even coups d’etat that would inevitably follow such a proposal, it is the amour propre of the career politicians alone (or even their lives if they ever wish to show themselves in public in the coming years) that will prevent any sort of United Europe. What an interesting week to come!